Ice fishing in Michigan is a time-honored tradition. However, with the ever constant changing weather patterns, sportspeople that want to take to the ice to enjoy this Michigan past time must know and respect the conditions. No ice is truly safe ice.
Safety Precautions and Life Jackets
Before going out, make sure you have the proper gear. This includes having a life jacket on in warm weather scenarios. While this may not look good and make moving around a little awkward at moments, it is better than drowning in a hole that breaks through the ice.
Additionally, it is a very good idea to have ice picks around your neck. Having ice picks handy in case you fall through the ice. They can help you climb out of the water and onto safe ice.
While cumbersome to wear, having ice cleats, or spikes, on your boots will make for safe travel across the ice in slippery ice conditions. Falling on the ice can be a painful experience and cut a fishing trip short.
Don’t Trust All Sections of the Lake
Ice doesn’t freeze uniformly across lakes or ponds. Due to springs, currents, wind, and shifting conditions, some areas of a body of water may have 8″ of good ice while others may have 3″ of poor ice. Always proceed with caution and a spud. Use the spud often while traveling to chip through the ice and check your ice thickness. Never assume the ice is always good.
Pike spearing is a favorite pastime of fisherman. However, use caution. Know your ice thickness before cutting your hole. And more importantly, always, always bring out a tree branch or some kind of a marker to alert others that there has been a hole cut in the ice.
Additionally, the Michigan DNR has guidelines around ice safety here.
Enjoy the ice and the winter hobby of ice fishing, but be sure to do it carefully. Good luck to all anglers.